The YSR Congress Party government in Andhra Pradesh have levelled serious allegations on the previous Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker, Kodela Siva Prasad Rao. The government accused Rao of stealing a Nizam-era table, designer chairs, sofas, air-conditioners and some ‘personal’ computers among other things from his Speaker’s office in Hyderabad.
According to officials of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, many of the pieces of furniture were found in a motorcycle showroom owned by Rao’s elder son, Kodela Sivaram, in Guntur city.
Interestingly, the same day news broke out that the Andhra Pradesh Skill Development Corporation has lodged a police complaint against Sivaram for allegedly stealing 30 laptops and a printer from a Rural Skill Development Centre in Sattenpalli, in July 2018.
“The laptops allotted were lying unopened at the Nagarjuna Sagar Project (NSP) guesthouse since June 2017, and on July 2018, the 30 laptops, printer and solar CPU were diverted to SVR College”, said Sattenapalli Rural Skill Development Officer, Baji Babu, in his complaint lodged on Friday.
Meanwhile, Rao claimed that it was out of fear of damage or stealing when the office was being shifted from Hyderabad to Amaravati that he moved the furniture and electronic gadgets into his personal care.
According to reports, Rao said a Nizam-era table, designer chairs made of Burma teak, 14 peacock-shaped visitors’ chairs, a centre table, 117 plastic chairs, 3 chairs from the Speaker’s ante-chamber, a 3-seater sofa, two split air-conditioners and a tower AC were lying at his various offices.
Rao claimed that he had only kept the furnishings with an intention to safeguard them until the new Assembly complex was being readied. “I wrote a letter to the Assembly Secretary on June 7, as soon as the government changed, stating that I would return them or, if they could quote a price, I would pay for them. But I have not received any reply yet,” he said.
“When the Assembly was in the process of shifting to Amaravati, it was a peculiar situation- we had two Assembly buildings. When the new Assembly became functional, APCRDA (Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority) officials said there was no need for the old furniture or electrical fittings as the new House was already furnished. There was the issue of maintaining this furniture and electronics, and the possibility of damage and loss, so I shifted the furniture to my offices at Sattenpalli, Amaravati and Narasaraopet to keep them safe,” Rao claimed.
However, the YSRCP legislator from Sattenapalli Ambati Rambabu said: “He (Rao) is lying that he wrote a letter. Why didn’t he return the furniture when he was the Speaker for the last five years? Why did he take the furniture and electronics belonging to the government to his home in the first place?”
Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly Deputy Speaker, Kona Raghupathi said that some of the pieces of furniture that Rao had taken away were purchased during his tenure. “I am not sure if air-conditioners or electrical equipment have been taken, but some pieces of furniture have been taken. During shifting of office, furniture is taken by some members on a returnable-basis. In this case, the former Speaker failed to return them. He should have returned them when the new Assembly building was ready. We have not lodged a police complaint yet. If Rao returns the furniture, we will take it back and the issue will be resolved,” Raghupathi said.